Shooting for the top

Jason Malloy
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Truro biathlon team gearing up for provincial event

TRURO - Aim. Breathe. Shoot.
Three words that can mean the difference for biathloners competing for top spot.
The sport combines cross-country skiing and shooting. Participants go full out skiing, stop briefly and have to concentrate on hitting targets with racing hearts while the clock continues to tick.
Coaches remind athletes to remember the three words as they prepare to pull the trigger.
Francis Castein said the shooting component requires mental fortitude with one of the keys being not getting rattled if you miss the target.
"What I tell these guys all the time is what happens in the range stays in the range," she said.
Castein is one of about 15 members of the Truro Tigers Biathlon Club. It is comprised of members of the 2928 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.
"We really promote physical fitness," said Keri Winkelaar, the corps' deputy commanding officer.
"This was a fun event that the cadets do, so we decided that instead of just limiting it to cadets, we would open up and start a Truro Tigers Biathlon Club."
Participants, which range in age from 12 to 17, showed off their skills Wednesday at Victoria Park for Breakfast Television. The action will be part of this morning's show, which airs from 7 to 9 a.m.
Eight club members are preparing for the provincial championship to be held Friday through Sunday at Ski Martock. Two of the athletes, Castein and her 15-year-old brother Michael, are currently on the Biathlon Nova Scotia development squad, from which Team Nova Scotia will be selected for the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax.
"It gives me motivation and just trying to obtain that is something that is always on my mind whenever I am training," said 17-year-old Francis.
She expects this weekend's competition will be critical to making the final cut as is the final event before the team is announced. Francis, who started in the sport four years ago, said it was very rewarding to be selected for the development squad.
"To be introduced to something and to be able to pick it up really fast and get an opportunity like this, it was almost surreal at first," she said. "Now, it gives me something to work for."
Reagan Mills hopes he can follow the footprints of the club's senior members.
"I love skiing, I love shooting, everything" about the sport, the 13-year-old Mills said.
He said it took some time to get the hang of the sport, but with assistance from club members he has steadily improved.
"You spent more face time than ski time," he said, referring to faceplants. "It's kind of a different thing your bindings not being cemented to your skis like downhill."

Organizations: Truro Tigers Biathlon Club, Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps

Geographic location: Victoria Park, Canada, Halifax

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Recent comments

  • michael
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    it is biathletes not biathloners

  • Aurora
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Go Team go! The BT footage this morning was great -- what a sharp looking and skilled bithlon team Truro has!